Sunday, August 29, 2010

Painting faux granite

Why would anyone want to do that, you ask? The photos below should make it clear...feast your eyes upon the hideous green formica countertop that we lived with for seven long years. Before anyone gets too excited about the prospect of transforming laminate countertops, let me make it clear that we ripped out that green monstrosity.

However, note the strange bulge behind this backsplash, and the feeble attempt to cover up the top of it with a random strip of green trim. Apparently the first builder made a half-wall, then later someone added the rest of the wall but since the lower part was not plumb, they decided to fudge it this way, leaving a bizarre wedge of drywall behind the backsplash. Basically, the wall is a mess and a professional contractor friend of ours had never seen anything quite like it.
Anyway, after our gorgeous shivakashi granite counters were installed, I had to figure out how to cover up this little glitch. First I used drywall compound to fill in the gap to make it as level as possible with the granite. You can really see how off kilter the wall is here, because the granite top is actually level to the floor while the green monster wasn’t.
The drywall compound was sealed with latex paint. Then the fun began. I used Golden OPEN acrylics to paint with because they don’t dry nearly as quickly as regular acrylics, which leaves more time for blending. I mostly used the stiff stencil brush on the left because I didn’t need fussy details, just needed to smear some paint around.
I applied a base coat of sort of a pinkish gray.
Next came some patches of the various colors from the granite. These acrylics dry a little darker, but don’t shift as much as regular acrylics. If you click on the photos, you can really see what’s going on. It doesn’t matter if the colors aren’t exactly right at first, they’ll be blended into each other.
The darker streaks that follow the flow of the granite really make it happen. The painted area isn't as smooth as the granite, of course, but I put some glossy sealer over it and it's very hard to tell it isn’t the real thing with a casual glance. My husband was flabbergasted at how well this turned was I, frankly. I asked several people who came over to see if they could spot anything that looked faux painted to match something else, and no one could figure out what it was.
Here’s the other end. The wall wasn’t as crooked, but there was still about 3/8" that had to be faked. The actual width of the granite is the same on both the backsplash and the counter, three centimeters, I think.
In case anyone is wondering about the gap along the top edge, well there was no way I was going to paint all that, plus it would get too much wear to hold up over the long term. We’re still looking for the right trim piece of tile to cover it up, or possible wood molding. And we still have the lighting, some cabinets, and a few other things to do. No worries, I have my new faucet, undermount sink, and much lighter, glam countertops, so who cares about a few little details?

Hope you enjoyed this little detour from my usual artistic pursuits. You just never know when mixing some colors may come in handy!


Quilt Rat said...

That is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!!!! You can now add magician/illusionist to your list of talents

Loreen Leedy said...

Thank you so much... isn't it nice when we can do better than we anticipated?

Diane J. Evans said...

Beautiful!! You turned out a masterpiece -- it looks absolutely real!


Dolores said...

Unbelievable. What a great cover-up.

Loreen Leedy said...

Update: We had a cabinet guy here the other day and he couldn't believe the faux granite was painted. He took a photo and suggested I could get work touching up stuff... hey if it pays enough, maybe!

Penny said...

I am super impressed - not at just the job but the idea that led to the solution!

Sue Andrus said...

I love what you did with the granite fake out! Much more professional than my marble job with paint on foam core, covered with contact paper for a windowsill in my kitchen.... My hubby is a remodeling contractor, This is the last place that gets worked on.... :)